Teacher Training: business as usual

A significant report which finds that how teachers are trained in Northern Ireland reinforces “educational division and duplication” along sectarian lines, is most likely destined to sit on a shelf gathering dust.

The report, produced by the Ulster University’s UNESCO of Education, has highlighted the consequences of four teacher training facilities based largely on religious affiliation and the implications that has for underpinning and perpetuating sectarianism.

Assembly members are unlikely to even read the report let alone debate it or act on its recommendations. It will be a one day wonder on the local media.

Despite the Good Friday Agreement being very clear. about the Northern Ireland Assembly’s responsibility towards Integrated Education – it was to “encourage and facilitate its development” – Sinn Fein and the DUP in particular have spent that past twenty-two years ensuring that no progress was made on integrated education or on integrated teacher training, one of the key milestones on the journey to de-sectarianise education.

Instead, they have prioritised and promoted the concept of ‘shared education‘, deliberately side-lining the integrated education project.

Only those committed to the implementation of integrated, secular education in Northern Ireland will  look to this report to confirm what is already known: but for the Executive, the Assembly and the Department of Education it will be business as usual as they collectively help to maintain and consolidate division in this society.

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